The institute's board of directors has voted to give the honour to Edward Larrabee Barnes ( below centre), an American architect who remained committed to Modernism despite the rush to Post-Modernism in the '80s.
Barnes, who is considered something of an undiscovered star in the States, was best known for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis ( pictured above) - which has recently been extended by Herzog & De Meuron - and 590 Madison Avenue (formerly the IBM Building) in New York.
Barnes died in 2004, but this was not considered a barrier to him being the recipient of this year's Gold Medal.
His other buildings include the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine; the Crown Center in Kansas City; 599 Lexington Avenue in New York; and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Toshiko Mori, chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School, who nominated Barnes for the accolade, said he was delighted with the appointment.
'Barnes' work is held in high regard among architects internationally and is influential in reassessing both the contemporary and future models of architecture,' he said.
'It has a generous sense of proportion spatially, which is very different from precedent European models,' he added.
Barnes will be commemorated at the American Architectural Foundation Accent on Architecture Gala, on 9 February 2007, at the National Building Museum in Washington.